01 October 2014

AUS: Australia’s first F-35A takes to the skies

Australia’s first F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, known as AU-1, has made its inaugural flight, marking another significant milestone for the Australian F-35 program, Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston announced today.

The milestone follows the official rollout of the Australia’s first two F-35 Lightning II aircraft on 24 July 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Senator Johnston said the first flight event was an important step towards acceptance of the aircraft.

“Australia’s first aircraft AU-1 and AU-2 will undergo further flight testing in the lead up to acceptance and ferry to Luke Air Force Base in 2015,” Senator Johnston said.

AUS: Contract awarded for anti-ship missile decoys

A Nulka decoy being launched
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Design of the next generation of anti-ship missile decoys is set to commence following the signing of two contracts between Defence and BAE Systems Australia Pty Ltd.

Defence Materiel Organisation Chief Executive Officer Warren King said the contracts represented continued investment in the jointly developed Australian—United States Nulka capability.

“These contracts support both the acquisition of Nulka decoys and the engineering design of the next generation of shipboard Nulka launch systems for the Royal Australian Navy,” he said.

Valued at approximately $80 million in total, the contracts will see Nulka decoys delivered to the Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy until early 2017, as part of the latest follow-on Nulka production order and the engineering design of the next generation of Nulka launch system.

USA: Peleliu, Germantown Visit Subic Bay, Support PHIBLEX

From USS Peleliu Public Affairs
Posted September 30, 2014

<< USS Peleliu (LHA 5), as seen from USS Germantown (LSD 42), sits moored in Subic Bay Sept. 30. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray)

SUBIC BAY, Philippines - Amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), along with Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, Amphibious Squadron 11 and embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), pulled in to Subic Bay Sept. 27 prior to beginning Philippines-U.S. Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2015.

This is the Peleliu's first port visit to the Philippines in nearly four years when it visited during its 2010 deployment.

"For many of the Sailors and Marines on Peleliu, this is their first visit to the Philippines, and they are extremely excited about being able to experience the hospitality the Filipino people provide every time the Navy and Marine Corps visits," said Capt. Paul Spedero, commanding officer of the Peleliu. "On the other hand, we also have service members who are from the Philippines, or have family members living in the Philippines, and our visit serves as a homecoming for those individuals."

India: India US Combined Military Training Exercise (Ex Yudh Abhyas) Culminates on 30 sep 2014

Col Rohan Anand, SM
PRO (Army)

The Indo-US Combined Military Training Exercise YUDH ABHYAS 2014, which commenced on 17 Sep 14 at Ranikhet and Chaubattia, concluded on 30 Sep 14. A magnificent joint parade by contingents of both armies marked the successful completion of the exercise.

Major General Lawrence Haskins of US Army expressed satisfaction on the conduct of training and praised the effort the Indian Army, Central Command and GARUD DIVISION in making the combined exercise a success by achieving the laid down objectives.

Besides promoting understanding and interoperability between the two Armies, the exercise will further assist in strengthening ties between India and the US.

Industry: General Dynamics Awarded $50 Million to Continue Submarine Modernization Program for U.S. and Australian Navies

FAIRFAX, Va. – General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), was awarded two contract modifications totaling $50 million to continue supporting the AN/BYG-1 combat control system aboard U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy submarines, as part of the AN/BYG-1 modernization program for the tactical control systems (TCS) and weapons control systems (WCS). General Dynamics is delivering enhanced capabilities across multiple submarine platforms, providing fleet operators and commanders with a common operational picture that strengthens real-time intelligence and improves situational awareness. 

“We are dedicated to helping the U.S. and Royal Australian Navies advance their mission with cost-effective, innovative, agile and reliable solutions,” said Mike Eagan, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Platform Solutions line of business at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. “By introducing our open architecture framework into these legacy systems, we can quickly insert relevant technologies onto the submarine’s open platforms to meet the fast-changing mission needs of today’s fleet.”

News Story: US may block Malacca Strait to contain China - Huanqiu

Huanqiu, the website of China's nationalistic tabloid Global Times, translated a piece from US military newspaper Stars and Stripes which details the Air-Sea Battle tactics proposed by the US military and another less-aggressive strategy that aims to block China's economic access to the Strait of Malacca.

The tactics were tested by the US military during the Valiant Shield exercise held in the western Pacific Ocean in mid September this year. They were described as concepts rather than a strategy, aimed at increasing the military's "anti-access, area-denial" capability and enabling them to reenter international waters and airspace if they were blocked. Although the US defense department carefully left China out of its 2013 summary of the tactics, they were considering a measure to contain China's increasing hostility.

TX Hamas, a retired Marine colonel and a researcher at National Defense University, argued that the tactics failed to recognize that the US military cannot find and attack China's solid-fueled missiles and mobile missile launchers in time and that the tactics could ultimately lead to a nuclear war. He proposed blocking China's access to the Malacca Strait to minimize conflict with China.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: PLA to buy 700 stealth fighters, says Jane's

China's J-20 Stealth Fighter Prototype (File Photo)

The PLA Air Force and Navy Air Force are likely to purchase 700 new stealth fighters, said Edward Hunt, a senior defense consultant at IHS Aerospace, Defense & Security in an article written for the UK-based Jane's Defence Weekly.

The United States alone will purchase 2,616 fifth-generation stealth fighters, including the F-22 and F-35 designed by Lockheed Martin, according to the article. Members of NATO including Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Turkey and Canada are planning to purchase a combined 600 F-35 fighters. In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan, South Korea and Australia will purchase an estimated 300 F-35s.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: PLA wants naval bases in Indian Ocean - Yomiuri Shimbun

Type 039 Song (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

After a Chinese submarine and warships visited Sri Lanka, Iran and Pakistan, the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun on Sept. 27 reported that the People's Liberation Army Navy is seeking to construct naval ports in the Indian Ocean to monitor the movements of the Indian Navy.

Between Sept. 7-14, a Type 039 Song class diesel electric submarine anchored at Colombo in Sri Lanka to take on supplies. It is the first time a Chinese submarine has been sent publicly to a port near the Indian Ocean. The visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping to Sri Lanka after the submarine appeared also indicated that Beijing is strengthening its partnership with Sri Lanka. After its stay at Colmbo, the submarine moved on to the Gulf of Aden, according to the PLA Navy.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: China's warships perfect fit for Russian navy, says magazine

Type 054A frigate (File Photo)

The August issue of Russia's National Defense Magazine has advised the country to buy warships from China to compensate for its own weakness in shipbuilding and to strengthen Russia's power in the Asia-Pacific region.

China's Type 054A frigate may be an ideal option for Russia, the report said.

With debate sparked by the suspension of a French delivery of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia, the need to bring in escort ships is all the more pressing. Even if Russia receives the two warships — the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol — and integrates them into the fleet in the following two years, the current deploy of warships is far less from sufficient, said the article.

Russia has few active battleships. There is only the Varyag missile cruiser and four Type-1155 destroyers for the country's large anti-submarine warships. These ships, all built during the Soviet era, are old, overused, and still engaged in cruising missions in the neighboring regions or anti-piracy campaigns off Africa. The rest include three Type-956 destroyers, which have been placed under long-term maintenance and are hardly functional, according to the report.

A Mistral-class amphibious assault ship needs three to four escort ships, while other warships, including two Project 955 Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, are also expected to enter service by the end of the year or early next year and will need escorts as well.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: Sina Military accuses US of ulterior motive in ISIS strikes

China is not falling for America's "devious plan" to topple Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad under the guise of an anti-terror campaign against the Islamic State, the Beijing-based Sina Military Network says in a bombastic editorial.

The editorial was released three days after the US carried out a new round of airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday against the brutal jihadist group also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in partnership with a coalition of Arab nations. The attacks were made in support of the Syrian opposition, which remains engaged in a bitter civil war with the government led by Assad.

The Sina editorial said that though the airstrikes were carried out under the auspices of an anti-terrorism campaign, it is obvious that Washington's ultimate aim after forcing ISIS out of Syria is to topple Assad's regime.

The editorial added that Russian president Vladimir Putin was effectively calling out US president Obama on the strategy when he made a call to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon last week to say that the US-led strikes should not have been carried out without the consent of the Syrian government.

Read the full story at Want China Times